ASHTON UNITED 0, BARROW 1
Ashton United’s first pre-season friendly saw them narrowly defeated by Sky Bet League Two Barrow at a sun kissed Hurst Cross.
The Robins gave a spirited display against visitors three division higher in the football pyramid and who fielded different sides in each half.
And it was ex-Ashton striker Ritchie Bennett who set up the first chance of the game for Billy Walters who was crowded out by Sam Sheridan.
Just past the quarter hour, Barrow scored the game’s decisive goal. Remeao Hutton’s delivery from a corner was headed back by Niall Canavan for Sam McLelland to help home from close in.
Robbie Gotts then curled a free kick over after Ben Hardcastle had been penalised and a loose clearance from goalkeeper Greg Hartley fortunately rebounded back to him off Walters.
As Barrow continued to dominate, a good move saw Sam Foley side foot over from the edge of the area and Bennett cut inside before hitting a left foot effort just past the post.
Approaching half time Tom Warren saw a right foot effort blocked for the hosts and Hartley needed to be alert to deny Foley after Bennett had robbed Sheridan.
Many changes were rung at half time, but the visitors remained on top as a trialist headed Gotts’ corner just past the near post and Ashton’s replacement keeper had to cut out Solomon’s Nwabuokei’s cross at the near post.
The dangerous Nwabuokei then headed Joe Grayson’s free kick into the keeper’s arms and then guided Jordan Stevens’ cross over the bar from an unmarked position.
The closest the Robins came was when another trialist fired in a decent effort from Max Harrop’s pass which Josh Lillis palmed away.
Josh Kay then brought a low save out of Ashton’s keeper from Stevens’ deep cross.
Ashton’s Ben Hardcastle had a great run through midfield which ended as he steered a left foot attempt just wide.
Barrow came close to scoring a second late on when the Ashton keeper made a double save denying Kay and then a trialist.
Report: David Robinson